DUBAI: Australian legend Adam Gilchrist backed Rishabh Pant to be included in the Indian playing eleven amidst the Pant-Karthik debate on Friday.
Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik are two of the 15 players who will be travelling to Australia for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022. It's likely that only one of them might fit in the star-studded batting order.
Pant has a particular edge because he is the only left-hander among India's top six batting options for the competition. However, Pant's poor T20I performance record and Dinesh Karthik's emergence as a finisher may work against him.
Gilchrist, however, backed Pant and asserted that he should absolutely be in the starting eleven.
"The dare of Rishabh Pant and the courage for him, the way in which he takes on bowling attacks. I think he's got to be a must in that Indian line-up. They can play together, but I think Rishabh Pant has definitely got to be in there," Gilchrist said.
Pant has 934 runs in 58 T20Is at an average of 23.94 and a strike rate of 126.21. The highly regarded wicketkeeper batsmen hasn't quite succeeded in this format as much as was predicted.
Karthik, on the other hand, has transformed into an effective finisher thanks to his standout performances in the Indian Premier League. He has also managed to force his way back into the India T20I team and the T20 World Cup squad.
The Australian great made reference to Karthik's versatility and did not completely rule out pairing the two of them together.
"It'll be interesting to see if they can both play in the same team. I think they can. What they bring to a team ... the versatility of Dinesh Karthik, he can play at the top of the order, he can, as he has done more so later in his career, be in the middle and late overs to finish. He has a really nice touch game," the former Australian player said.